Close, but no cigar.
It appeared as though the NHL lockout was coming to an end on Thursday night when Donald Fehr, the executive director for the NHL Players Association, put forth tremendous optimism about the deal they had in place (via the Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi):
Fehr: "This should put us on the road to a quick end to this dispute."— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) December 6, 2012
But things quickly took a turn for the worse. From ESPN's Katie Strang:
#CBA Fehr informed media just now that deal was rejected via voicemail.— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) December 7, 2012
It was truly a strange turn of events over an extremely quick period of time. First a deal was all but done. Then, all of a sudden, it wasn't. A deal that seemed so optimal at one point was quickly deemed "not acceptable" by the owners.
Now, once again, each side is calling the other out:
Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, had this to say about Fehr's actions on the night (via Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News):
Bettman calls Fehr being optimistic to media tonight "almost incomprehensible"— Pat Leonard (@NYDNRangers) December 7, 2012
Bettman calls is an "emotional roller coaster" this week.— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) December 7, 2012
Bettman says owners were beside themselves and said "This process is over. Clearly union doesn't want to make a deal."— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) December 7, 2012
Bettman described the wishy-washiness of the recent events that will cause so much anger for the fans. From Carchidi:
Bettman says there was "great optimism and hope" that "almost inexplicably" disappeared on Wed.— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) December 7, 2012
This is certainly a less-than-encouraging end to a night that hours ago was looking so promising. As long as the two sides continue to have such poor communication through the process, it's hard to imagine a deal getting done anytime soon.
But then again, with the way things are going, no one really knows what will happen next.